Saturday, May 4, 2013

Hotel Marrakesh

It rains here in the afternoon,  heavy iron clouds crowd away the eye-straining blue. But only for a minute and the water dries before it reaches the dirty tips of trees lining the walls of the hotel. If you hadn't looked out in that minute, you'd have missed the clouds rushing off South and they're gone.

The air conditioners in the hotel hum, curtains pulled against the heat.

The kids from Belgium, pink skinned, again and again jump from the pool's edge, hissing water onto the burning concrete lip of the pool.

But in the late afternoon the mama cat and her three babies will venture out to hunt for scraps of dropped burger, tuna from the Moroccan salad, lap up spilled diet Coke.

(Call for Prayer is fainter here in the hotel, too many steps removed from the pattern of life here.)

My toenails are painted with gold freckles, dust. My belly is soft from too much: too much hot bread wrapped around meat wrapped in lamb fat; too many sweets dripping in honey and butter.

The hibiscus flowers so red against the hot white walls that surround us fill my breath with a blood red smell.

The bats begin their swooping there descent, sluicing through the twilight.

Over the walls of the hotel I see: The woman with long, pink jalaba drives her two kids to the market piggyback on her motorbike.

In Marrakesh's hot, polluted center, in Jemaa el-Fin the monkeys shriek and jump at you and the snake charmers are really that: a tribe that knows the ways of these poisonous desert snakes. They roll ice over the tops of their scaled skulls. It keeps them cool and slow. This is only one of their tricks. The most of them they will only pass on to their children. Their children. But mine?

They'll place one around my child's neck for a photo all smiles and quietly tell me they won't take it off until I pay 250 Dinar. They never stop smiling as the panic rises and I fumble for the colorful paper money I have stuffed in my jean skirt.

Storks nest in the minarets of mosques here, untroubled by the roaring call for prayer that blasts out of the speakers five times a day. The call must help shake their babies out of their shells as they hatch. As they grow, Allah's words are woven into their feathers, twisted into the long stalks of their legs so they move by the grace of Allah, they spread their heavy, dusty flight with the digits of His will.

Ah, those thick woolen beasts.


While I nap this is what I hear: 

The scipper of pink jelly slippers along the stone floor hallway: " mem lunettes..." And she's gone.

The scrape of patio chairs by the pneumonia blue pool. It's a mouth that opens to take in your nervous fever and spit you out again, burned in ways only chlorine and August sun in Marrakesh only can.

The bang of open shutters as the wind pulls up from the Sahara.

The clatter of bats gather the day, snipping at the edges of sunset and pulling each edge, as one folds a large, brilliant strip of fabric, pulls each corner in and folds up the sunset around Hotel Marrakesh and leave us just the black night to make of it what we will.